Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55

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The Independent Online
What made this real resurrection of the spirit of great painting possible? There were two factors. The first is the essentially healthy character of French painting. One need only survey the salons and galleries to realise that the salient characteristic of French painters is a fondness for reality. Despite the temptations of Picasso's prodigious and multiform genius, the best works of art have been achieved by following other paths, leading in other directions from those sometimes taken by the greatest modern painter. Those artists who thought that they had but to follow him became out of breath along roads that only this giant can walk without stumbling. The permanent and consistent spirit of French painting, on the contrary, is still the love of reality, the affirmation of man's intimate harmony with nature. Amid the adventures and dissipation of modern art, French painters have timidly, sometimes even

shamefacedly, preserved a memory of that without which no great painting can exist.

From an article on painting in Paris by the critic Jean Marcenac, Magazine of Art (Washington) May 1950, Vol. 43 No. 5

Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55 at the Tate Gallery until 5 September. Sponsored by the Independent and supported by the French Embassy in London.

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